Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

76%

26 Critic Reviews

But despite the ghoulish nature of his subject, or perhaps because of it, Jeffrey Eugenides never loses his sense of humor.
-LA Times

Synopsis

This beautiful and sad first novel, recently adapted for a major motion picture, tells of a band of teenage sleuths who piece together the story of a twenty-year old family tragedy begun by the youngest daughter's spectacular demise by self-defenstration, which inaugurates "the year of the suicides."

 

About Jeffrey Eugenides

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Jeffrey Eugenides was born in Detroit and attended Brown and Stanford Universities. His first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux to great acclaim in 1993, and was adapted into a film by Sofia Coppola. Middlesex received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, and was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and France's Prix Medicis, and was selected for Oprah's Book Club. It has sold more than 3 million copies.
 
Published April 1, 1993 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 260 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Virgin Suicides
All: 26 | Positive: 20 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Debut novelist Eugenides is a heavyweight: proof of it is in nearly every pitch-perfect sentence of this startlingly and very good book...Eugenides, meanwhile, writes just about as well as anyone in recent memory has about male teenage desire...Not to be missed.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jan 18 2016

Under the narrator's goofy, posturing banter are some hard truths: mortality is a fact of life; teenage girls are more attracted to brawn than to brains (contrary to the testimony of the narrator's male relatives). This is an auspicious debut from an imaginative and talented writer.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Jeruen Dery on Oct 11 2011

So, overall, I think it was a good read. It is indeed a provocative book, as other critics described it. But I don’t think I would go out of my way to recommend it. There are other books that I found myself enthusiastic about.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Jeruen Dery on Oct 11 2011

So, overall, I think it was a good read. It is indeed a provocative book, as other critics described it. But I don’t think I would go out of my way to recommend it. There are other books that I found myself enthusiastic about. I will give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Tavi Gevinson on Dec 26 2012

The Virgin Suicides is my favorite teen romance of all time, either in spite or because of the fact that the characters never really talk to one another.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Kristin McCloy on Jun 20 1993

But despite the ghoulish nature of his subject, or perhaps because of it, Jeffrey Eugenides never loses his sense of humor.

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The Independent

Above average
Reviewed by Peter Guttridge on Jun 19 1993

Eugenides' assured mixture of heartfelt nostalgia - suburban life has seldom been recalled so lovingly - and dark humour makes for a mesmerising read. Although not without flaws, The Virgin Suicides is wonderfully original.

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Rohan Maitzen on Jun 04 2007

...while I don’t think the novel glamorizes or makes light of suicide (it is, I’d say, despite everything, a sad and even tragic novel), it uses it to do these arty intellectual things. All five girls are objectified in life and death, and again, for me, the novel falls just on the wrong side of being about objectification vs. being objectifying.

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People

Good
on Apr 19 1993

By turns hypnotic and elegiac, the novel manages to sustain a high level of suspense in what is clearly an impressive debut.

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Teen Ink

Above average
Reviewed by MckennaS, on Jan 10 2016

It was a worthwhile read, and I thought the perspective it was written from was an interesting idea, but I still had to force myself to finish the book...if you’re looking for an action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, I wouldn’t recommend this to you for the time-being.

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Curled Up

Excellent
Reviewed by Carly Bennett on Sep 28 2009

I’m not going to beat around the bush: I absolutely adore this novel. The language is beautiful, the story is heartbreaking but brilliantly told, the characters are superb. Honestly, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
Reviewed by graceblackman on Oct 01 2015

The events of The Virgin Suicides could be summarised in one short swoop: five sisters kill themselves...The novel is not concerned with providing answers, and not primarily with plot...The Virgin Suicides is a remarkable as a debut novel, and also as a precursor to Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Middlesex, published in 2002.

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Raging Biblioholism

Good
on Jan 21 2016

The book is, somewhat by nature, a bit oblique and while that serves to be slightly frustrating by the end, it’s also a beautiful and accomplished debut in its ability to capture so many intangibles so beautifully.

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The Literary Omnivore

Good
on Oct 15 2009

A dreamy, darkly funny, and meticulously detailed account of the suicides of the five Lisbon sisters through the eyes of the boys who were obsessed with them, Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides doesn’t offer up any answers to its central mystery–but it is a spectacular novel.

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She Treads Softly Blog

Good
Reviewed by Lori L on Oct 24 2010

Eugenides is a brilliant writer. His ability helps The Virgin Suicides stand apart as a real modernist literary accomplishment. The story of the teenage girls as told by the infatuated, adolescent male narrators just feels so real, so true to life.

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Pretty Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Stacey on Jan 19 2013

I usually see storytelling as being more important than the writing, but in this case I couldn’t separate the two – the writing is beautiful and the style feels essential to the story...The Virgin Suicides is a poignant, contemplative and very American novel that takes us on a distorted flashback through adolescent heartache...

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Reading on a Rainy Day

Above average
Reviewed by Athira on Sep 18 2012

The Virgin Suicides started off very engagingly and despite knowing right from the first sentence that all the Lisbon sisters kill themselves...there is an air of mystery and intrigue hovering over the pages... I didn't feel that I got satisfactory answers to my questions, but I did feel that the author narrated the state of their lives very well.

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Bookmunch

Good
Reviewed by Laura Joyce on Oct 22 2010

The narrators of this story have an interest in the externality of the girls...An absolute modern masterpiece.

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The Mookse and the Gripes

Below average
Reviewed by Trevor Berrett on Jul 11 2008

I just never had reason to believe that the totality of the factors leading up to the suicides wasn’t their cause. I don’t think the remaining daughters would have killed themselves but for Cecilia’s suicide and the subsequent grief and lock-down...Then again, this might just be more clever than I first thought.

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http://www.complete-review.com

Good
on Oct 02 2015

It's an odd book, with more artistry (or at least craftsmanship) than feeling, and too unlikely to be fully convincing -- yet with enough elements so true to life and well observed that it does provide repeated shocks of recognition. Worthwhile, and intriguing.

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Literary Inklings

Good
Reviewed by Casee Marie on Jun 26 2014

Distracting only slightly from the compelling singularity of the novel and the enchantress-like mystique of the otherwise ordinary Lisbon sisters is Eugenides’s magnetic prose, which soars throughout the narrative with delightful flair and a dry, darkly humorous edge.

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The Bibliobrat

Good
Reviewed by The Biblio Brat on Jun 09 2009

Do not simply judge it by the title, or that first sentence. This book is much, much more...I am giving this book 4 stars out of 5. It’s good, but not a page turner and one that keeps you up all night reading. I must say, as a book club pick, this is a perfect choice...

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A Case for Books

Good
Reviewed by Anna on Jan 24 2012

Whilst I found that my familiarity with the film did not dampen my enjoyment (enjoyment is not quite the right for this quiet and melancholy book), I would have liked to discover it without knowing the story inside out. It is a carefully put together and unique story that will get under your skin.

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http://pankmagazine.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Dawn West on Mar 15 2012

Jeffrey Eugenides’ prose is intoxicating. His command of detail and atmosphere still colonizes me, years later, technically grown up.

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Life Is Too Short To Read Bad Books

Below average
Reviewed by Kristen Smith on Jul 28 2006

In the end, we're left with a lyrical account of the seemingly senseless destruction of 5 young lives and some of the repercussions of their deaths, but no real insight as to why.

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http://lynaireads.luigiandlynai.net

Good
Reviewed by Lynai on May 05 2011

What strikes me most about this book is the of the narrator’s voice. First person, personal pronoun, plural – WE. To me, this is very original... I love his way with words, how he creates vivid and realistic illustrations of his characters and of the setting. Jeffrey Eugenides can write a perfectly crafted novel...

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Reader Rating for Virgin Suicides
76%

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Katrina Bernardo

Katrina Bernardo 5 Sep 2013

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